I was born and raised in a small town in Michigan, as the second child to my parents, Charles and Charlene. I have a dear sister, Rhonda, who is 4 ½ years older than me. I grew up in a loving Christian home, and many of my most fond memories as a child are centered around my family and being involved in church and church ministries.
I grew up faithfully going to an Independant Baptist church. Along with the influence my parents were in my life, I must say that my pastors had a strong influence on me. The Lord used them to help mold and make me into what God would have for me. Though I was always interested in the things of the Bible, I didn’t come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ until I was a teenager.
I was at a youth rally when a preacher preached on our need for a Savior. The Holy Spirit convicted my heart that night. Romans 3:23 states that “all have sinned and come short” of the standard that God demands. I knew I was a young man that was on his way to Hell to spend an eternity separated from Jesus Christ because of my wicked sin. Romans 5:8 talks about how God showed His love to me, that while I was an unbeliever, Christ died for my sins. I repented of my sins and asked Jesus Christ to become Lord of my life. Romans 10:13 says that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I am happy to say that my Savior has changed my life forever.
After I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and King, He started to guide my life. Being a teenager is never easy in America but with the help of Jesus Christ He was able to bring clarity to me. I began to be actively involved in an inter-city bus ministry that reached out to under-privileged youth and their families.
The pastor in charge of the bus ministry became like a second father to me. He not only taught me what true ministry is but he and his family also introduced to me the ministry of adoption. This family had 3 grown biological children of their own when God had burdened them to adopt hard-to-place older domestic children. I had the privilege of being around this family and learning their amazing heart for these special little ones. This family lived what they taught and believed. I am forever in their debt for all that they have taught me. They have gone on to adopt 16 children and even today they are an encouragement and a resource for my wife and me. God used this family to begin to burden my heart for orphan ministry.
I received a Bible degree from Ambassador Baptist College and was blessed to meet and marry my beautiful wife there as well. It still amazes me to look back and see God’s hand at work without me knowing it. My wife and I had so many things in common, one of them being that we both knew we wanted to adopt someday.
My wife and I both wanted a large family and we thought having children would be “normal” and easy, but God would teach us valuable things about His timing and His complete control of our lives through our fertility. We struggled with not being able to have children for several years, and had just completed our adoption classes when we found out that my wife was expecting our first child. Praise the Lord! We were so excited. Though we did not adopt at the time we both firmly knew that God would have us adopt someday.
We went on to have 4 biological children and love each one so much. But our hearts continued to be directed back to adoption and orphan care.
In the summer of 2008, I began feeling the Lord calling me to full-time mission work. I wasn’t sure exactly which direction He wanted me to go, but I had such glorious peace when I finally surrendered to His call. Shortly after this surrendering time, we discovered one of our children had some special needs, and were counseled not to try to take this child on deputation due to the nature of the needs. We prayed and prayed for the Lord to open up another door of ministry for our family.
During this time, I started researching the possibility of pursuing international adoption. God lead us to adopt our first special needs little girl from China. She is a sweet little girl, born premature at 29 weeks, who turned our world upside down and began to further our love for orphans.
Two months after we returned home I started to get burdened about going back to China to adopt again. After a time of fervent prayer, God directed us to a little girl who had a brain cyst. (After we brought her home, we discovered her brain had completely healed!) We committed to adopt her, but before her adoption was completed, the Lord revealed another situation to us. There was a 13 year old Chinese girl in desperate need of a family before she aged-out on her 14th birthday. I must say, adopting little ones was not scary but much heartfelt, tearful, agonizing prayer went in to the adoption of this teenager, who is now our 15 year old daughter. God gave us such perfect peace about adopting her. We have prayed for each and every one of our children and God has blessed us abundantly above anything we could ever ask!
Our experiences with adoption—from the intense training and preparation, to the trips to China and their orphanages, to the immense work involved in bonding and nurturing children from “hard places”—led us to believe God was tying our call to full-time missions directly to our burden for orphan ministry. Both my wife and I have a strong desire to see these precious unloved, unwanted, orphan children raised up in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment. Because of our own experiences, we have witnessed firsthand the miraculous change that occurs in a child when they are loved, nurtured, disciplined, and daily exposed to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. We are ready and willing to serve God in a full-time orphan ministry—meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the orphan.